Today, we are truly excited to bring you the first of what will hopefully be many articles by friend of the site D.Bethel. Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you D. Bethel's Trials by Fire! We really hope you enjoy it!
#001 : Fantasy (Dungeon Defenders and Orcs Must Die!)
The highest honor a game receives has nothing to do with sales, creators, preorder exclusives, or platform exclusivity. Thinking like that is myopic and ignores the much more important, abstract avenues of thought and discourse. A game reaches cultural sublimity when the title becomes an adjective, a shorthand among gamers where the mere mention of the title elicits a singular, shared definition within the community. Especially in today’s climate, where bandwagon-hopping game development has become the industry’s favorite move during a floundering economy, gamers need easy points of reference in order to effectively complain––or give a backhanded compliment––to a game that comes down the pipeline. How many Call of Duty ripoffs have floated past? How often was gameplay described as being God of War-like? There are also industry benchmarks, where even the titles are reduced to single words (for better or for worse): Mario, Sonic, Zelda. These designations aren’t arbitrary; in fact, this trend happens for a simple reason: no other game can describe it. However, an innate conflict is created. If a game can be described in terms of another, then the reactive consensus usually condemns the game as being bad (haters gotta hate, even when a derivative game is good, re: X-Men Origins: Wolverine). This paradox lies at the heart of this week’s Trials By Fire collection––two fantasy-based demos comprised of Dungeon Defenders and Orcs Must Die!
|If you can get past slaughtering adorable hordes, you'll love it.|
|Protect the shiny thing at all costs.|
|Carnage was never more fun.|
|Normally, you want to point the other way.|
Describing any game in the terms of others shouldn’t automatically condemn it. Perhaps we sometimes use adjectival games to describe new releases because it’s obvious that they should be part of the pantheon. Perhaps Orcs Must Die! is like God of War because it’s over the top, not because it plays anything like it. It is also like Brutal Legend in terms of originality of character and humor, but that is also a good thing. Is wrong to say Orcs Must Die! reminds me of Call of Duty because it, too, has tight controls and fast-paced gameplay? Therein lies the difference between Dungeon Defenders and Orcs Must Die!, the former is described using other games because it is a sloppy patchwork of others’ ideas. The latter is described to explain the feeling it gives you and to get you excited to try it for yourself. So, please, download the Orcs Must Die! demo, I promise you’ll have a Blaster Master time.
The Victor: Orcs Must Die!
D. Bethel never has time, but when he does, he makes
comics at www.eben07.com.
Follow him on Twitter @DBethel